Sunday was the final day of our artist retreat, and it was left pretty loose for everyone to choose what they wanted to work on, perhaps finish up partly done sketches or go and find that view they’d been wanting to paint. Also, it was a good time to hold our final review and critique session. Did everyone have their mini-paintings to swap?
Slight panic amongst the troops as not everyone was ready with their set of four! OK then, we’ll postpone the swap until dinner, and simply continue with our review.
It was wonderful to see people’s drawings and paintings from all the places we’d been to during the week. Everyone’s so different, yet each encapsulating their experience of the island in their own way.
Of the experienced outdoor painters in the group, one had created a series of beautifully delicate paintings in her sketchbooks, while others had produced quarter-sheet sized paintings, mostly done on location. And one artist was very proud of having actually painted on site, as she’d never tried it before. Wonderful achievement all round!
For our final evening’s entertainment, we were booked into Dvor Duboković in Pitve for a traditional Dalmatian peka dinner. But first, we thought we’d go early and enjoy a bit of sketching around Pitve. Frankie had another suggestion for us, though. Would we like to take a walk up to their vineyard with him for even more glorious views?
Well yes, of course we would love to! So it was in the late afternoon that we found ourselves trailing up a quiet country road towards Vrisnik, taking photos, sketching and enjoying the scenery.
The family vineyard is set high in a gorgeous location with breathtaking views down towards Jelsa, the shimmering blue of the sea and the mainland beyond.
Ivica Duboković drove up to open up his winery for us, and poured glasses of his 2012 plavac wine from the stainless steel tanks. It was young but very good, and promises well for the future!
We settled down on chairs and crates to paint in the peaceful vineyard for a while.
One artists hadn’t brought her paints, so instead decided to try the vinorel technique for a landscape. Impressive!
On the way down, we passed the local still, and went in to have a look. It was very smoky inside the building, from the wood fire. We were offered some grappa to try, and other liqueuers. I find the grappa rather too strong for me, but I do love the walnut (orahovac). Note that a still is actually a perfectly legal operation in Croatia, though it would not be in some other countries.
Back in Pitve, we headed to Dvor Duboković and settled into our places at a table overlooking the view – by now quite dark with lovely twinkling lights. It’s amazing how you can see the towns far away on the mainland at night by their lights, but not during the day.
Over in the back was the peka on the grill – another challenge to sketch our dinner in progress! The peka is the Dalmatian version of a slow-cooker, the heat is controlled by placing embers on the rings.
While we were waiting, we set out our small paintings on the table and admired them all. It was fun to see that many were miniature versions of those that I saw being painted on site during the week. In the swap, we all got a painting from each of the other artists, which makes a wonderful memory of the week!
Dinner at Dvor Duboković is always very special, both for the atmosphere and the quality of the food. For this evening, we were also privileged to have live music in true Dalmatian style with the wonderful klapa Bagulin. Between courses, we drew up our chairs closer to the musicians’ table to enjoy it properly and join in the choruses!
This was a fine way to round off the week, as tomorrow the group heads off in different directions to explore other parts of Croatia, or return directly home. A couple of us will be taking the coastal ferry down to Dubrovnik on Tuesday, so we’ll be sketching out and about there next.